Main Contenders in the power struggle after Lenin's death


Trotsky -Revolutionary Record

His reputation was established in the 1905 revolution

Leading figure in the short St Petersburg Soviet of November 1905, organising a general strike of the workers

Masterminded the communist service of power and reconstruction of the Red Army during the civil war of 1918-1921

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Trotsky - Relationship with Lenin

Early relationship with Lenin was tubulent 

1903 side with Mensheviks rejecting Lenin's views

When he returned to Russia in 1913 he however joined the communist party and worked closley with Lenin

Throughout the civil war, he and Lenin worked together on restoring discipline to the Red Army

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Trotsky - Lenin's Testament

Trotsky was Lenin's Principal Lieutenant and dispite the occacional disagreement Lenin was happy to proclaim his as 'no better communist' 

In his testament he wrote 'the most able in the present centre committee' however he also wrote that 'too far reaching self-confident' 

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Trotsky - Party Appeal

Revolutionary heroism in 1905, 1917 and during the civil war

He had good speaking skills and won the support of young communists and the Red Army

Disliked by many as he was not a typical communist (western), so had many enemies

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Trotsky -Party Powerbase

Had a seat in the politburo at the time of Lenin's death

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Trotsky -Government Powerbase

Part of the minesterial committee within the Sovnarkom

His most important role was the Head of the Red Army

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Stalin -Revolutionary Record

During and after the October Revolution he was a committee member

Saw himself as a milltary tactician, refusing to accept Trotsky's authority during civil war

1921, his presence on many senior committee secured him a high level of government

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Stalin - Relationship with Lenin

During 1905 Lenin came to rely on Stalin's administrative ability and loyalty 

Proir to Lenin's illness Stalin was careful to back him on contraversial issues

However as Lenin began to fall ill Stalin began to oppse him

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Stalin - Lenin's Testament

In his testament Lenin was highly critical of Stalin especially after following a disagreement between Stalin and his wife

He demanded that other party leaders tryed to come up with a way to remove him and find someone more tolerant, loyal, polite, and more considerate to others

However he did also state that along with Trotsky he was one of the most able of those in the centre commitee

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Stalin - Party Appeal

Had the power to advance people in their careers in the communist party

He was also relatively calm compared to Trotsky and Bukharin who became quite extreme

Unlike the other potential leaders he was willing to appeal to the nation to gain his lead

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Stalin - Party Powerbase

Was the obvious choice to get the chair in the centre committee but he didn't get it so was given General Secretary which is the Head of the Secretariat, created by Lenin

He was also Head of the Centre Control Commission and he had a Politburo seat

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Stalin - Government Powerbase

Member of the minesterial committee in the Sovnarkom

He was also the Commissar of Nationalities within the Sovnarkom

The expansion of the Sovnarkom in 1919 lead to him being given the position of Commissar of the workers' and peasants' inspectorate (Rabkrin)

Power of Patronage ensured that workers who wanted to keep their jobs would be loyal to him

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Bukharin - Revolutionary Record

Leading figure during 1917 in the Moscow Communist party

Following the October Revolt his radicalism inspired others to seize power in Moscow

during the civil war his revolutionism encourged German Communists to rise up and seize power in thier own country

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Bukharin - Relationship with Lenin

He admired Lenin, Lenin referred to him as the 'Golden Boy' of the Communist Party however he and Lenin often didn't agree on things

Following the revolution, he headed up the first oppostion group, criticising Lenin's peace policies with Germany

At the end of the civil war, he turned back on his early radicalism and went back to embrace Lenin's new economic policies

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Bukharin - Lenin's Testament

In the testament Lenin wrote that he was one of his favourite out of the whole party and that he had 'the most able force amougst youngsters' 

However Lenin also had his reservations about his skills as a theorist, 'his theoretical view can only with the greatest of doubt be regarded as fully marxist' 

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Bukharin - Party Appeal

He was liked by many in the party that in 1921 a foreign vistor to Moscow said that he was 'named in Russia as the eventual successor to Lenin' 

He had a reputation for honesty, fairness and incorruptibly

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Bukharin - Party Powerbase

He was in charge of education and newspapers

He had a seat on the Politburo and was a candidate member

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Bukharin - Government Powerbase

No position in the Sovnarkom

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Kamenev - Revolutionary Record

Known for his caution rather than his revolutionary passion

Disagreed with Lenin on several strategies e.g. October Revolution and the new government

Also played no part in the civil war

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Kamenev - Relationship with Lenin

After Zinoviev, he was Lenin's closest friends and collaborator prior to 1917

However in 1917 he began to oppose Lenin's vision along with others

Following the revolution however he went back to Lenin and remained close to him into his final years

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Kamenev - Lenin's Testament

Lenin bracketed him and Zinoviev reminding his readers of their unloyalty during the crucial months in 1917

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Kamenev - Party Appeal

He had little ambition 

Saw no need to consolidate his support base

He was intellectual but an unispiring public speaker

Reputation of giving up easily and compromising

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Kamenev - Party Powerbase

After 1919 was given a seat in the Politburo, yet after Lenin's death he was given chairman of the centre committee

Also head of the Moscow branch, however being a poor administrator he therefore failed to earn the respect of the party

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Kamenev - Government Powerbase

Originally served as deputy chair of the Sovnarkom

When Lenin became ill and Trotsky refused he became the acting chair of the Sovnarkom therefore also the acting head of the Soviet Government

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Zinoviev - Revolutionary Record

Short of revolutionary heroism

October 1917, opposed the planned takeover of power - October Deserter

During civil war remained in Petrograd's most luxurious hotel, away from the fighting

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Zinoviev - Relationship with Lenin

During his exile worked with Lenin on books and pamphlets until his return in 1917 

However on his return he disagreed with Lenin on crucial issues

After dropping again he returned to the position as his henchman

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Zinoviev - Lenin's Testament

However Lenin still wrote in his testament, 'I will only remind you that the October episode of Zinoviev and Kamenev was not of course, accidental' 

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Zinoviev - Party Appeal

He was the least appealing for the power

Good speaker but vain, with abition and ovious political failings

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Zinoviev - Party Powerbase

From 1919 had the position of the Head of the Comintern

He had a seat on the Politburo

Also he was the head of the Petrograd branch of the local party groups

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Zinoviev - Government Powerbase

No position in the Sovnarkom

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